Cloudless sky, ever present sun, dry & hot climate.
This is what Namibia is known and loved for by all of us, who fancy this 'eternal summer feeling'. Add huge concentrations of game around the waterholes of Etosha during the dry season, from August to November, and this makes it the best time to visit and photograph Namibia's wilderness, ... or so you might think.
But what if we told you, that the rainy season is equally compelling and offers a variety of very special sightings and photo opportunities that you will never experience on your Namibia journey during the dry season?
You don't believe us? ... Let us tell you about 10 awesome sightings you will miss, when you skip visiting Namibia in the rainy season:
1. Impressive Cloud Banks
Admittedly, in some years the rainy season sets in hesitantly, but once it's in full swing you'll witness huge cloud banks, that are quite impressive.
When heavy clouds are building up in the sky, grab your camera bag, hop into your car and drive towards them. Stop somewhere along the road, where zebras might graze peacefully under the menacing storm clouds (image above), switch off your car and roll down your windows.
Try to capture this impressive weather phenomena with your camera, ideally in a variety of ways, maybe even with a wide-angle lens, to reveal the sheer size of the cloud.
And don't forget to soak up this special atmosphere with all your senses! Do you smell the approaching rain, the mixture of wet soil and animal dung? It's wonderful, isn't it ... it's the smell of AFRICA!
2. Spectacular Thunderstorms
On days, when Etosha's sky is covered by a thick cloud cover, it will have turned all dark and menacing before the clouds, compressed to 'breaking point' by late afternoon, finally burst open.
When you witness and photograph a heavy downpour from a greater distance, you get a feel for the immense size of it. Including tiny zebras (image above: bottom left) or an Acacia tree (image above: bottom right) adds a new dimension to the scene.
Looking at this image always reminds me, that just like the zebras, we are but tiny speckles on this beautiful planet, don't you agree?
3. Wild Animals Huddling In The Rain
Your experience will turn out quite different, when you're right in the middle of a storm. When you're caught by one in your car, you actually don't see the scale of the storm, but rather feel the power of it.
The heaviness of the drops hammering on your car roof, especially the deafening sound of it, can be quite impressive, even frightening. But in the end, I am sure, the experience will leave you in awe and enlightened about the power of nature.
Whilst our hearts might be thumping fast in excitement, the wildlife, such as the Blue wildebeest (image above), endures these heavy, but often short downpours quite stoically. They stand still in the rain to conserve energy and just wait it out. As soon as the rain becomes softer and then stops altogether, the animals begin to move around again to warm up and simply continue with daily life.
4. Out-Of-This-World Sunsets
As peace settles over the savanna again after the storm has subsided, stay on and observe what might happen: when the cloud cover lifts and lets the setting sun shine through, you might experience the most magnificent sunset you've ever seen in your entire life (image above).
When we stayed around after a torrential downpour at Etosha's 'Sprokieswoud', the scenery transformed into a fairyland that was out-worldly. The array of colors displayed all around us was just breathtaking, and we went crazy trying to capture this beautiful nature spectacle with our cameras.
5. Amazing Rainbows
And finally, if you're verrrrryyyy lucky, you may witness the cherry on top of the cake ... a beautiful rainbow over the African savanna.
So, Namibia friend, have we convinced you yet to visit Namibia in the rainy season? Fantastic, ... and if you're still indecisive, if this is the travel time for you, we'll give you even more reasons for it in our upcoming blog (Part 2), so look out for our next newsletter.
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With our best wilderness wishes,
Claudia & Wynand
Claudia & Wynand du Plessis - Namibia Nature Photographers - www.photos-namibia.com